Consumer debt recovery is a diverse, complex and highly regulated sector of the market. Often there is little contact information to rely on when a file is referred to a collection agency, so the information gathering process starts from the ground up. Field calls (otherwise known as a face to face visit) are one of the tools an agency uses to better understand the customer’s circumstances, particularly with large balance debts.
Some of the reasons an agency may recommend a field call include:
- To attempt to locate a person who has moved address
- To verify the identity of a person
- To make a demand for payment of a debt
- To discuss establishing a payment arrangement
- To update contact information
- To discuss the reasons for non-payment of a debt or a broken payment arrangement
- To carry out an examination of a person’s financial position
- To carry out a valuation of assets
- To make motor vehicle accident enquiries and third party claims
- To obtaining photographic evidence in support of litigation
- To carry out a mortgage property condition report
- To carry out a pre-purchase asset inspection
Throughout most of Australia, field agents must be licensed, and their activities are regulated by state and Federal legislation including the Privacy Act and the ACCC and ASIC Debt Collection Guideline for Collectors and Creditors. To review the Guideline Click Here
The Debt Collection Guideline devotes an entire section to face-to-face contact with a debtor including hours and frequency of contact, preferred places of contact, harassment, privacy obligations and the collection and disclosure of personal information. The Guideline also describes what not to do and details best practice scenarios for both creditors and collectors.
To ensure your field calls deliver the best outcome, the agent carrying out the field call must be properly briefed and supplied with as much information as is available, so that when the agent visits the address they are aware of all the information you need to maximise the likelihood of recovery. In other words, if you think the debtor has moved address, or you are aware of assets that the debtor has that may be available to reduce the debt value, let the field agent know in advance.
A well planned field call can help the creditor to identify unknown assets, and whether or not the debtor has the capacity to pay the outstanding debt. In some circumstances a field call also helps identify and understand genuine cases of hardship that can be managed in a sensitive way and in accordance with the customer’s hardship policy.
Each month Shield Mercantile carry out dozens of field calls for many different reasons including sometimes in connection with repossession of an asset. For more information about field calls and repossessions contact Shield Mercantile at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 9687 6111.